The Crowder College Board of Trustees considered on first reading Thursday a recommendation to raise student tuition rates.

The Crowder College Board of Trustees considered on first reading Thursday a recommendation to raise student tuition rates.

Jim Cummins, Crowder’s Vice President of Finance, proposed a $1 or 1.3 percent increase per credit hour for in-district students, which would raise the credit hour fee from $77 to $78.

If approved, the proposal would also increase out of district tuition by $2 or 1.9 percent per credit hour, increasing it from $105 to $107, while international tuition fees would increase by 2.24 percent, or $3 per credit hour, going from $134 to $137 a credit hour.

Student fees would not be affected by the increase, Cummins said.

“We have grown at a rate where our revenues have out-paced our infrastructure to keep up with the increase in numbers,” Cummins said. “So I think there are things that we may need to think about doing, personnel wise, facilities wise, to keep pace with our growth and that’s going to take funds.”

Cummins said he estimated that the increase would bring in between $150,000 - $175,000 of added revenue.

“Raising rates at CPI (consumer price index) every year is sometimes much easier to swallow than waiting three years when you find yourself in shortage then raising it three years worth,” Cummins said.

He said even if the increase were approved, Crowder would still have one of the lowest tuition rates among area community colleges.

Alan Marble, Crowder College president, said one of the college’s growing expenses came up in recent discussions about personnel salaries. Marble said faculty have requested that adjunct professors receive a pay increase, as they are currently among the lowest compensated adjuncts in the area.

They currently receive $500 per credit hour, and Crowder has about 450 adjuncts on staff.
Cummins also proposed an increase to room and board rates. His proposal would increase the cost of a semester in a two-person dorm room to $1,100, from the current $766, while a three-person room would be $900, up from $566.

Cummins said those totals would also include meal plans.

“The long-term picture, if we can get to it, is we would like to, if and when we can expand dorms, actually have some of our current dorms sit vacant for a semester so we can go in and refurbish them,” Cummins said.

He said Crowder has fallen behind in room and board fees, as well as planned dorm maintenance.
He said at some point in the future the board could also hear a proposal to expand housing.
Both the proposed tuition increase and the proposed room and board rate increase were considered on first reading.

The Board of Trustees will take up the proposals again in their March board meeting.
Also on Thursday, Crowder Board members heard a report from Kristi Chapman, blank, about the college’s spring enrollment numbers.

While Crowder officials announced another enrollment increase last month, Chapman presented that enrollment broken down by campus, which reflected the biggest increases at McDonald County and Neosho.

In McDonald County, a nursing program, funded by the Mo Health Wins grant, started in August 2012 at a temporary site in Pineville.

The grant program added a 107.6 percent increase in enrollment up to 81 from 39.
Meanwhile, the Neosho campus showed an 8.8 percent increase in enrollment from the spring 2012 semester, a jump from 2,935 students to 3,195 students enrolled.

Overall, Crowder’s enrollment increased by 5.33 percent from spring 2012 to the current spring semester.